It’s five o’clock traffic and getting across Lundeen Parkway at Vernon Road in hopes of continuing down Lake Drive is the goal. Some vehicles have to sit at the stop sign for what seems like hours, in hopes of making it home before the 11 o’clock news.
Others catch a break and dash across the intersection with a car whizzing by as they reach the other side. Sound familiar? Well, the City of Lake Stevens is currently in the process of solving this problem for drivers by providing a new roundabout at the intersection of Lundeen Parkway, Vernon Road and Lake Drive.
With the help of government stimulus money, the project should be complete sometime in early spring. “It is nice to be able to use federal stimulus money for such a much needed project. Not only did we put people to work, we are changing the safety and traffic flow for a very dangerous intersection,” Lake Stevens Mayor Vern Little said.
After receiving a bid of $1,073,041 for the project back in August of 2008, the city requested stimulus fund money of $920,000 in September of 2009, leaving the city to come up with $153,041 for the entire project. But changes made by the Governor as to how stimulus money was to be issued, affected the city’s original investment plans.
After the original bid, it was discovered that adjustments would have to be made because of designated wetlands that were not there prior to the first bid.
In June 2009, the city sent the project out for bid again, the engineer’s estimate came back at $2,024,829, but because of the faltering economy, the City chose to again go out to bid.
“We made the decision to go ahead and go out for bid…because of the economy,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said.
“After confirming multiple times with the Dept. of Transportation staff that the AARA (stimulus) funds of $920,000 was set and that the amount would not change, the City made the determination to go ahead and go out to bid with the project knowing that bids were coming in quite a bit lower than the Engineer’s estimates,” it says in a statement.
That bid came back at $1,203,431, which was closer to the original bid. With new bid in hand and a promise of $920,000 of stimulus money, the city was ready to start the project. However, after receiving the lower bid, WSDOT said they were required to reduce the fund money to $453,431. “We found out at that time, that it was the Governor’s policy to deduct the difference from the bid,” Berg said. Because of the importance of the project the city council chose to move forward and find other ways to fund it. “$500,000 from real estate excise tax funds may be used for capital improvements,” Berg explained.
The city council also chose to use the $500,000 from the 2010 tax resulting from the Library District annexation. “I am proud of the council for stepping up,” Berg said.
The roundabout will have a larger radius than the roundabout at Lundeen Parkway/20th Street/Callow Road, Lake Stevens Public Works Director Jim Kresge said. “It will be a little bigger to allow access.” Snohomish PUD is currently working on the project and when their work is complete, the City will finish by adding striping, sidewalks and crosswalks.
“We have been coordinating with PUD, they have work ahead of us,” Kresge said. “It should take a total of about three months, weather depending.”
When all is said and done, the City will have a way to control both the traffic and speed and allow for drivers to be safer at the busy intersection.
”This will allow traffic to flow continuous without stopping for any length of time,” Little said. “And this will be so much better than a traffic light.”